Sunday, May 19, 2013

Book Bloggers and the Indie Author Dilemma

bookriot.com
A year ago I didn't even realize book bloggers existed. I was never one to spend time surfing the net.  It's only in the last nine months or so that I began to discover this whole world of book reviewers who post their opinions online.  It's amazing, really, that there are so many book lovers out there willing to give up a chunk of their time to write reviews and feature books on their blogs.  It's not a paid job.  It's a passion.  And it's awesome.

With the number of books out there, book bloggers provide a welcomed service to both readers and authors.  They wade through the slush pile of published books so readers can get a better idea as to which novel they should pick up next.  They offer desperately needed exposure to authors who may not get it otherwise.  

But...

And this is a big BUT.  But more and more are refusing to review books by indie authors or authors they haven't worked with before.  Why?  Because there are authors who've called them names, threatened them, set out internet campaigns against them.  And the book bloggers have had enough. They do this on their own time.  They don't need that kind of crap.  Yes, I'm sure there are bloggers that write hurtful or ridiculous reviews -- I won't defend them. (But I won't defend authors who can't write or proofread, either.)  However, most book bloggers are respectful, even if the review is negative.

The whole thing pisses me off.  It pisses me off that authors have acted like toddlers and thrown tantrums when a reviewer doesn't like their work.  It pisses me off that they've done it often enough to have closed off reviewing opportunities for the rest of us.  And it pisses me off that as an indie author, I am put in the same category as those writers who have been behaving badly.  That many of the blogs I do follow -- many that I feel would be a great fit for my novel -- when I go to review guidelines I am greeted with the message I DO NOT REVIEW INDIE AUTHORS or DUE TO PAST EXPERIENCE, WE TAKE NO REQUESTS INVOLVING SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS.

I can't blame them. But it's unfortunate, since indies really need book bloggers behind us.  We don't have ad campaigns by major publishers to get our names out there.  Our books aren't in Target or Walmart or other places people just might come across them randomly, when shopping for something else.

Self-publishing has exploded.  There are more and more books out there every year.  Which means there will be a lot more bad with the good.  And that more than ever, we'll need bloggers to help guide readers through the mass.  Yet it also means that there will be more and more authors acting like idiots.

I don't know what the future of book blogging and indie authors looks like.  But I do know that only a month and a half into my publishing venture I am extremely grateful to the generous bloggers who have posted on my book. Every second of my time is consumed with the worry that no one will discover Untethered out there amid hundreds of thousands of other titles.  My social media circle is small.  I don't have the money for huge ads.  Or a network of influential contacts.  Or a half-naked couple on the cover of my book.

All I have is a burning desire to make this work.  And my e-mail.

And those bloggers' responses to my e-mails.  The ones who've said, "Yes."

They've made all the difference.
    

13 comments:

  1. Katie,
    I could not agree with you more! Book Bloggers have been a big reason why I've been able to get more exposure for my book and it's something I don't take lightly. It pisses me off as well when I hear stories of indie authors behaving badly by flaming book bloggers, which in turn causes them to stop providing a valuable service for authors AND readers.

    Being an author means putting youself out for scrutiny and dealing with the good, bad and ugly that goes along with it.

    Awesome post!! Viva la Book Bloggers!

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  2. Bianca,

    I know, right? While I can understand that authors are hurt and upset after a negative reviews, what I can't understand is their behavior. Do they think it helps ANYONE?

    Thank goodness book bloggers have strong stomachs and march on! :)

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  3. Absolutely! Of course getting a bad review hurts, but as you said, no excuse for temper tantrums. No one benefits!

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  4. Happily I knew nothing of any of this - I've only used a few book bloggers and when I have I've got chatting to them a bit on Twitter first. I think maybe the problem is, Katie, that these people who exhibit this dreadful behaviour aren't 'authors' at all; they're ghastly people who've written some dumb story and can't handle being told it's crap. The sort of people who ask their partners if they look fat in a particular outfit, then play hell when told they do - and even blame the spouse...!!

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  5. Terry,
    I think you have a point that some of those "authors" may not be real writers. On the one hand, it's too easy to publish...yet on the other hand, thank God it's possible!

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  6. You're so right about it being too easy to publish. When I wrote my first novel in 1993, I knew it wasn't good enough to send to an agent. I didn't send one until I felt I was starting to 'get there'. (Still didn't get trad published but at least I got some real interest, phew, so knew I was on right lines!). Now, though, it seems that so many people aren't able to see this, which is why there is so much crap around and so many people behaving in this unprofessional manner you've described. I blame part of it on the 'culture of encouragement' that's grown up over the past 10 years or so - everyone's a winner, no-one must be criticized...!

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  7. Katie, your points are well-taken. Most book bloggers try to be fair, if not always positive, and most authors are grown-up enough to live with negative reviews. Unfortunately those on the fringes of both groups are spoiling it for everyone.

    I've read the sample of "Untethered" that's available via Amazon, and on that basis, I'd like to invite you to be interviewed on my book blog, www.TheBookcast.com. I do audio interviews with indie authors via Skype - if you're up for it, I'm at bill-at-thebookcast-dot-com.

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  8. Bill,

    Thank you so much for your comments and your interest! I'll be contacting you!

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  9. People joke abou their book being their baby but it is undoubtedly true for some. So if a reviewed author goes ape-poop assume your review was equivalent to saying their child was ugly or stupid.
    I have been writing for about a thosand years, have four books out on Kindle and several more on offer. I am unfailingly polite to publishers and bloggers even when they insult me.
    DW Carver kjs142 at aol dot com

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    1. It is tough when someone insults you or your work. Especially when the critique doesn't seem well-thought out or constructive. As authors, I guess we need to make sure we don't take all comments to heart (eaiser said than done, though):)

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  10. I'm so mad. I just made this super awesome, though long comment and when I went to publish it, my computer gave me an "error" message! stupid technology. As a blogger, I have seen both sides of the Indie vs Traditional coin. I've heard horror stories about bloggers being chewed up and spit out, but I've also heard stories of bloggers abusing the very authors they are supposed to be helping. I think some get a bit too big for their britches and forget that we are supposed to be working together regardless of how the author is being published. To stop reviewing Indie bc someone acted butthurt over a review is stupid. Would they stop reviewing traditionally published authors if they had acted the same way? Why are Indie authors looked down on by bloggers? At least they had the courage to not give up on themselves and follow their dreams. They take a HUGE risk being self published. I have a lot of respect for that. So indie authors, if you have something paranormal, I'm here for you. My blog is http://fangfreakintasticreviews.com and I will NEVER stop reviewing for Indie authors.

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    1. You crack me up, Melanie! And it's bloggers like you who save us indies! Thank you!

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